The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) saw Microsoft and Sony continue their punch-up in the next-generation console battle, revealing the games, the features, and (most importantly) the price points of their new home products.
Microsoft revealed the design of their new console, dubbed the Xbox One, weeks before, attracting criticism for a clunky box that drew comparisons to early model VCRs. The criticism did not end there. The company rolled out some rather clumsy policies with regards to the sharing of games and the need for an online connection.
According to the mass criticisms, the company seemed to have learned nothing from the SimCity debacle that engulfed EA and Maxis, where players had to have a constant internet connection in order to play the game. Likewise, the Xbox One required a connection once per day, and would not function without it. The company also announced anti-consumer rules ‘that would have effectively banned gamers from trading in their purchased titles, or charged them extra for it’.
Meanwhile, Sony’s PS4 console struck several blows. First, there was the design: sleek and angular, with a blue glowing bar across it that gave it an edgy, sci-fi feel. This was matched by the new controller, the DualShock 4, which also has a tantalising blue light, as well as tweaked grip, a share button and a headphone jack. Then came the powerful right hook; the pricing. Sony priced its new console at $399/£349, significantly lower than the cost of an Xbox One at $499/£429. Then came the killer blow: there would be no restrictions on sharing games, trading games or selling games.
In the weeks following E3, Microsoft has since reversed its used game and always-connected policies. While the company may hope it shows they are willing to change, others may see it as a pretty weak back-track effort.
There’s no doubt about the upcoming exclusive Xbox games such as Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3 and Halo 5 will tempt fans back to the fold – but in any case, with the PS4’s lower price point, a classy aesthetic design and superior RAM, Sony has definitely won the first round.